When you think about weight loss, it usually involves engaging in a long term diet and exercise plan. We know that when you are trying to lose weight, you have to be consistent and work hard.
According to a new study by Australian researchers, taking breaks or cheat days, while dieting may actually help aid weight loss.
In the study, two groups of obese men were involved in four-month diet that required them to restrict their calories by one-third.
The first group stuck to the diet for two weeks, then left the diet for two weeks, and continued to go on and off the diet in two-week cycles. While in the two week cycle off the strict diet, the dieters consumed calories equal to the number of calories they were burning, which created an energy balance.
On the other hand, the second group continued their diet during the four-month period.
Researchers found that the dieters who alternated between their strict diet and having cheat weeks lost more weight during the study, that was published in the International Journal of Obesity. Those who took days off their diet gained back less weight as well when the study was over.
“While further investigations are needed around this intermittent dieting approach, findings from this study provide preliminary support for the model as a superior alternative to continuous dieting for weight loss,” Nuala Byrne, the head of the University of Tasmania’s School of Health Sciences, and leader of the study said in a statement announcing the findings.
I believe that taking a break from dieting gives your body and mind a chance to rest but the key to weight loss is consistency. You can really do some damage to your body during those off days and end up worse than you were when you started. However, I do believe in enjoying the foods you love but in portions. I do not see anything wrong with that chocolate or ice cream every now and then.
To get the best out of weight loss, I try to eat lean meats, fruits and vegetables, avoid sugary drinks and get some physical activity in on a daily basis.
Source: Byrne; N.M et al. “Intermittent energy restriction improves weight loss efficiency in obese men: the MATADOR study” International Journal of Obesity 19 September 2017
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